Monday, November 28, 2011

Sam Adams Hangin' With the Kids

Sam Adams Third Voyage Double IPA (kind of)

8.0% ABV

Sam Adams is making their way into limited release bombers.  Should I be disappointed or rejoice in the potentially wonderful nectar of the beer gods?  One of the best parts of Sam Adams brew is the wide availability.  No harassing the local beer store months in advance and no pepper spraying people to get your hands on it.  Old Sam Adams is jumping in with the young kids and limiting some of their line-up.  With that being said I did manage to land all of the single batch brews without special reservations.  Will the brew live up to the “hype”?  Lets find out.

First in line is the Third Voyage Double IPA.  The brew pours with a huge fluffy three fingered head.  The nose displays delicate hop aroma with some earth, spice, and dull fruit being the main characters.  Exact tasting note, “WOW different”.  I don’t’ know if I am so surprised because this is supposed to be a Double IPA but this beer is wonderfully unique.  The malt complexity is surprising and phenomenal.  Wait…Double IPA right?  The malt starts with light brown sugar and blends into traces of honey.  From there the brew dives into deep caramel notes finishing with delicate hop character.  The bitterness is very subtle, coating the mouth evenly and lingering after the finish.  The hop character is a very smooth earth character with mint character developing after the brew is swallowed.  The funny thing with the bitterness is that it doesn’t really register until after you swallow.  Good malt, swallow, wait is that bitterness?  Awesome!

Lets visit the initial assumption that this is supposed to be a Double IPA because this is not what I think is representative of this style.  I think it could almost be classified as a barley wine but thinner.  Thinner than barley wine and not as hoppy as a double ipa, where does that leave us?  Overall the balance of this brew is phenomenal but in my opinion the real star of this brew is the initial malt complexity.  The subtle hop character and delicate bitterness is a bonus.  I think a lot of people will be disappointed with this because this brew doesn’t have the huge hop presence typical in most commercial double IPAs.  However if you approach this brew with an open mind and without any expectations of the double IPA style, this brew is a work of beer brewing art!    

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